A Year on Saturn

...is approximately 29.7 Earth years.

"A Year on Saturn" is the website of Shannon Fay,
freelance and fiction writer.

Getting Ready for Clarion West

Posted on: May 5th, 2014 by Shannon Fay No Comments

Forty-six days until I board my plane for Seattle. Here’s what I’ve been doing to get ready for Clarion West:

-Reading. Top of the list is reading more of my future CW instructors. Last week I read Paul Park’s ‘a Princess of Roumania.’ This week is Charlie Jane Anders Week (so I’ll be reading her short story ‘Six Months, Three Days’ as well as her plethora of writing advice on i09). But even when I’m reading great authors, if I feel like I have to read them even my favourites can become a chore so I’ve been mixing it up by reading non-clarion related works too (I just finished ‘Orange is the New Black’ and am now reading ‘Boy, snow, Bird’ by Helen Oyeyemi).

-Speaking of reading, I’ve been trying to read more non-fiction. One piece of advice past CW graduates have given is doing any research you need to do before you go, as you won’t have time once you get there. I have a tricky relationship with research. I think that most people have an idea and then do the research to back it up. I on the other hand, will be watching some random documentary and think “Hey, that would be a great idea for a story!” and then do research. Right now I don’t feel like I have any short story ideas that need extensive research, so I feel a bit stalled. I have some non-fiction books to read (a book about castles, a book about the science of world building) but without a story idea to spur me on I don’t feel motivated to pick them up.

-Bought my plane ticket! It was thankfully much cheaper than I was expecting.

-Writing every day. For the past few years I’ve been pretty focused on short stories (give or take a NaNoWriMo here or there) but now that I’m going to Clarion West I’ve tried to reel that back- I don’t want to run out of story ideas while I’m there. Not being ‘allowed’ to write short fiction has freed me up to write something longer. It’s nice. The novella I’m working on is in a world I’m slowly building featuring characters I’ve been living with for a long time, so it’s nice to finally get something on the page. I’m just writing this for fun, I don’t expect anyone outside of my writer’s group to ever read it (at least, not this raggedy-ann draft). Its purpose is to keep me writing, and more importantly, to keep my enjoying writing.

Things I still need to do:

-Buy health insurance.  Speaking as a Canadian, the scariest thing about America is the proliferation of guns. The second scariest thing is the idea of paying for your hospital stay after you’ve been shot.

-Contact lenses. Am I running low? Should I get them re-filled? And if I do, should I use the local place full of friendly people who often come to my store or the cheaper place online? And should I get my eyes checked first and make sure I don’t need a new prescription? They’re getting worse, aren’t they? Oh my God, am I going blind?!?

-Pack. Very important, though I think I can put this off for another few weeks.

-Critique other people’s work more. Maybe? I am already involved with a local writer’s group that meets roughly every two weeks, but I wonder if I should do more online critiquing of strangers. I don’t know if it would prep me better for Clarion West or what. Oh well, I’m not going to stress about it.

-Save money for Clarion West. This is also important, but seeing as I already live pretty frugally this isn’t a huge adjustment.

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